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Study Shows Programmers Get Better With Age

Toby The Economist SO scoring is not comparable across questions (352 comments)

Can't post a comment on his blog. Post and preview just reload the page. Cookies are on for blogspot and I've a google.com account. No other way to contact Peter. I presume blogspot requires cookies enabled for some additional domain, but there's no way to find out. I'm gobsmacked as ever that a major web-site either doesn't know or doesn't care this occurs - both causes are stupifying.

My would-be comment;

I believe this analysis is fundamentally incorrect, due to the StackOverflow scores having a different meaning than that required for this analysis to be valid.

Difficult questions and answers, which require a great deal of specialist knowledge, receive very few votes, since almost no developers are qualified to hold an opinion.

I've answered questions on lock-free data structures which have in the end obtained one or two votes - because hardly anyone has spent the years required becoming competent in this field.

I've provided one sentence of grandma-wisdom about someone's problem at work with their boss asking them to use pirated software and I think I received 40 votes - 400 points.

Quick and simple answers to simple questions receive the highest number of votes.

I think the scoring system actually reflects the most popular answer for a single given question; that the scoring system is only meaningful *within the answers for a single question*. It selects and rates between them.

As such, this higher-level analysis, comparing scores *across questions*, is fundamentally incorrect. It requires scores to be a type of indicator which they are not.

To summarize; if answers requiring years of learning lock-free gains very few votes, but one-liners telling someone they'll have more problems in future get very many votes, the actual number of votes an answer receives does not indicate the skill or experience of the person posting the answer. It only reflects the rating of answers *for that one question*. If you wish to compare answers on a per person basis across questions, I think all you can do is consider the position of the answer within all the answers for that question, and assign a value to that position.

If this were done, my lock-free answer, which was top of the list of a very short list, would receive the top score, which my one-liner, which was I think second or third of the answers to that question, would receive a lower score.

more than 3 years ago
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Could Amazon Reviews Be Corrupt?

Toby The Economist Amazon censor negtive review by not accepting them (201 comments)

I've written one or two Amazon reviews - normal reviews, quite positive, they were accepted.

Then I bought a DVD - a Nick Cave live in concert DVD - and I panned it. (There was a logo, "MC", on a black oval, BIG, and present ALL THE TIME through the whole video, in the top left - it ruined the DVD). I said - "don't buy it".

Amazon never posted that review.

I've thought for a long time that Amazon censors reviews - if it really pans the product, it doesn't get on the Amazon site. ALL the Amazon reviews are in that sense corrupt, because Amazon remove the really negative reviews. You only see the more positive reviews.

more than 3 years ago
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Italy Votes To Abandon Nuclear Power

Toby The Economist what about freedom? (848 comments)

> 57% of Italian Households voted in this public measure. While democracy should trump all, is it wise to hold majority opinion so high that it slows down
> progress?

This is wrong in so many ways.

If I want to build a nuclear power plant, that's my business (as long as I don't pollute the environment and so on).

It's my money, I bought the land, the people building it agreed to build it in exchange for the money I pay them, etc.

Then I can produce energy. Now, if there are Italians who don't *want* energy from nuclear sources, then what should happen is that they should buy their energy from providers who offer non-nuclear plans.

This way those who agree with nuclear can buy nuclear and those who don't, don't. We don't have any one group forcing itself on everyone else - which is what we see here, both in Italy and in Germany, just by different means.

If nuclear really is unpopular, if enough people don't want it, it really won't exist, not because we happen to have an untrustworthy State or fickle Public which for now ban it, but because the mass of people just won't buy the stuff.

What's happening now in Italy and in Germany is really horrible. It's unfree. It's one group forcing something upon everyone else.

Slashdot however is IME rather left-wing and is in favour of using the State to force things upon others, so long as whatever it is being forced is something Slashdot approves of, like State funded science subsidy or flights to Mars. Slashdot does not understand freedom.

more than 3 years ago
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India's Schooling Experiment Tests Rich and Poor

Toby The Economist Slashdot disappoints (174 comments)

Slashdot disappoints the hell out of me.

You'd think - you'd hope - this would be a liberal forum. Would have a care and an interest in freedom.

But every time I talk about *freedom* - about NOT forcing other people to do things - I get modded flamebait or troll.

Whenever someone posits forcing others to do things you LIKE, you're all for it. Shit yeah, tax the hell of people for research-this or free-eduction-that or travel-to-mars-by-2020 the other.

Whenever someone describes people being forced to do things you don't like, you're up in arms!

The idea that people *shouldn't be forcing others* is alien to Slashdot - this forum is no different to any other; neo-conservative, red-neck religious, left-wing liberal - you all have the things you like and the things you don't like, you all completely disagree on what those things are, but you DO all believe in forcing others to do what you want.

From my POV, it's all one and the same.

This post too will, if it's read - the thread is old now - will be modded flamebait. Slashdot - like all those other forums - does not comprehend existential criticism. Anything which invalidates Slashdot is flamebait/troll. It's a way of not thinking.

more than 3 years ago
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India's Schooling Experiment Tests Rich and Poor

Toby The Economist Act of Evil (174 comments)

That education act was an act of pure evil.

If I take my money, which belongs to me, and I open *my* school, it's *my* business - and no one elses.

No one else has *any* right to come along and order me around - let alone ordering me who my students will be.

There's this thing, it's called Freedom. It means no one can force you to do things, or deceive into doing them - unless they're acting in self-defence, and this isn't self-defence.

India is poor for a reason - it's Government. The State is profoundly corrupt and protectionist. This act is just another example of the State forcing others to do its bidding.

more than 3 years ago
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New Bill Pushes For Warrants To Access Cloud Data

Toby The Economist Nice idea, doesn't work (97 comments)

Accordingly, all warrentless accesses of personal data will be done for anti-terrorism reasons.

Government will use every power it has, always, to do whatever it is it wants to do.

The original intent of the power is *utterly and wholly irrelevant*.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Tabloid trash (858 comments)

With US debt at 14.3 trillion dollars and with countless examples through history of hyperinflation causing default and massive human suffering, it is not obvious to me that deflation is worse.

Moreover, you must consider *why* deflation or inflation is occurring.

If inflation is occurring because the State prints money, not only is that theft, but it is a situation where the State has the potential to massively abuse its monopoly and destroy the economy. This is a major risk and problem.

If deflation is occurring because no new money is being created while at the same time the economy is generating new wealth, it is easy then print roughly the correct amount of new money.

The latter situation is, I think, obviously preferable to the former.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Tabloid trash (858 comments)

I wrote:
> Why do I have to use the Government's money?
> Why can't I use my own?

You've replied by telling me I can use euros...

There's a difference between using another State issued currency (euros, etc) and issuing *your own currency*.

What about *freedom?* if I want to issue my own currency and someone else will accept, why can't I?

The State has given to itself the monopoly of money. This permits the State to abuse its position and, for example, devalue the currency to fund spending. If a multitude of free, independent currencies were available - rather than a very small selection of monopoly monies (e.g. all State monopoly currencies) this would not be possible, since any currency being abused by its issuers would immediately be exchanged for trustworthy currencies.

People in general benefit hugely from a reliable, simple medium for the long term storage of wealth. When this is not available, everyones lives are made more troublesome and a consequence of this is that long term economic growth - the process which makes us all richer and brings the poor into wealth - is reduced.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Tabloid trash (858 comments)

> You don't have to use Government money.

Incorrect. Fiat currency is a State monopoly. Private individuals *are not permitted, by law, to issue fiat currency*.

Along with that, the fact you *can* barter is irrelevant, because it doesn't change the fact that the general freedom to issue currency is denied by the State.

> The thing about State creation of money is not that it isn't topical, but that it's largely irrelevant.

The US Government has recently created truly vast amounts of money. I think it incorrect to assert this is irrelevant. We will see what happens.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Article Has a Very Strange Conflict (858 comments)

I live where we don't trust Government statistics and notice all four major currencies in a devaluation race and gold at 1500 USD an ounce.

Also, have a look at this, it's a long term graph showing the real value of sterling since 1750.

http://www.moneyweek.com/~/media/MoneyWeek/2011/110411/11-04-13-MM01.ashx?w=450&h=279&as=1

Inflation in the UK is rising and has just topped 4%. It'll be worse in the USA.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Tabloid trash (858 comments)

Think about freedom.

Why do I have to use Government money?

If one individual has a contract with another, what business or right does a third party have to impose conditions on that contract?

Regarding the creation of money by the State, I mention that as a particular problem because it is a major topical issue.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Tabloid trash (858 comments)

Why do I have to use the Government's money?

Why can't I use my own?

What about *freedom?*

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Untraceable and unhackable? (858 comments)

> Anything with such features will be banned by governments.

Then we are subjects, not citizens.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Article Has a Very Strange Conflict (858 comments)

> Does anyone honestly think the promise of protection from inflation will cause people to ask for their paycheck in BitCoins?

I'm interested. The alternative is investment, which is problematic due to the risks involved and bureaucracy, or gold, which is highly speculative.

I'd give a -lot- to have a stable, trustworthy, inflation free currency, something not subject to Governmental manipulation. Right now I hold as little fiat currency as possible, simply because the State keeps stealing wealth from me by devaluing the currency.

Either way, whether or not this BitCoins are going to be THE solution, they are A solution, and the more solutions there are, the better.

more than 3 years ago
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BitCoin, the Most Dangerous Project Ever?

Toby The Economist Re:Tabloid trash (858 comments)

> Congress has the sole authority to coin money.

I believe at the current time and for some considerable time every Government in the world has granted to itself a monopoly in the supply of fiat currency. This is unethical, because it forces people, if they wish to use fiat currency, to use that particular currency. It is wrong to force people to do things against their will, unless you're acting in self-defense.

Moreover, monopoly leads to appalling service and abuse of priviledge, *always*.

A particular problem we see here is the manipulation of the supply of fiat currency for the benefit of the Government. One example of that is inflation, which is the transfer of wealth from those who hold fiat currency (those who have saved) to those who hold debt (those who have borrowed). The State is the massive holder of debt and the individuals who have worked and earned their wealth are those who have saved. It is theft, plain and simple, to support massive State spending.

more than 3 years ago
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Confessions of a Computer Repairman

Toby The Economist Re:Sony's silent hardware changes (387 comments)

> Makes lots of sense. They were within their rights to replace the m/b.

The fan had a problem, not the motherboard and changing the motherboard will screw up Windows, so I don't think that's an okay thing for a repair center to do. It is not reasonable to expect users to install the OS and all their apps when a fan dies.

> > I wanted to get them to check was if the motherboard was actually changed.
> Ok, the answer is "yes". Now what?

No. The question was never answered. The nearest answer - and this took four weeks, you understand - was "Sony repair are trustworthy; what they have written down on the repair sheet will be accurate". The point I was making was that what's on the repair sheet may be the list of repairs which were *supposed* to occur, and that any other changes which occurred in the course of those changes are - as a matter of policy - not listed.

I am certain that they never checked if the mobo was changed, or that they know it was, but are refusing to admit that it occurred.

> > Their response was, I kid you not, "in this situation we recommend you reinstall Windows".
> This is a correct response. Do you have a better alternative?

Yes. First, they apologise for screwing up my PC. Second, they stop changing motherboards when they don't have to, because of the costs it imposes on the end users.

Oh and third, they find my 3G SIM. They'll find it, I think, in my motherboard...

TBH the most aggreviating part of all this is how *arrogant* Sony are. They screwed up my laptop and their response is, literally, "we recommend in this situation you reinstall Windows". I mean, WTH?

As it is, I have reinstalled Windows and the problems still exist. I had a dying fan. I sent my laptop back for a new fan. I now have a fixed fan but a broken motherboard. Sony will probably recommend that in this situation I send my laptop back to them for repair.

more than 3 years ago
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How WikiLeaks Gags Its Own Staff

Toby The Economist Re:If it's true (236 comments)

In principle, yes. In the particular case of Wikileaks, I'm reasonably inclined towards believing them - they've not shown themselves untrustworthy. I can't say the same of the any Government in the world. (I'm inclined not to think any of the cables are US plants, because probably Wikileaks obtained the cables prior to the US Government knowing; if the US Government *did* know, I think they'd be more interesting in stopping the leak than using it to plant some fake cables, because the costs of the leak are much higher than the benefits of the fake cables).

more than 3 years ago
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Confessions of a Computer Repairman

Toby The Economist Sony's silent hardware changes (387 comments)

I've had problems recently with Sony.

I have a Vaio Z. Nice bit of kit. The fan began to die - getting very loud. I took the SSD out (for data privacy) and sent the laptop off for repair. The fan is replaced. Sony also indicate they have updated the BIOS.

I get the laptop back, put the SSD back in... ...and Windows is SCREWED.

Doesn't recognize the display, can't find the audio chipset, power management software thinks there's an optical drive attached. Oh and my 3G SIM which was in the motherboard has gone. Performance when running a game is now juddery (run - slight pause - run - slight pause) and I get abrupt lock ups about once every two or three days.

Now, you tell me how a fan and BIOS change causes this? I think they changed the motherboard, because the fan is pretty integral to the motherboard; and Windows Does Not Like having the motherboard changed under it.

Sony customer support has been worse than useless. I would have been better if I had never emailed them - I would be up the time I've wasted.

Their response was, I kid you not, "in this situation we recommend you reinstall Windows".

I wanted to get them to check was if the motherboard was actually changed. I couldn't get them to actually *acknowledge that question*. It was flat out ignored.

Just beyond the pale.

more than 3 years ago
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How WikiLeaks Gags Its Own Staff

Toby The Economist If it's true (236 comments)

That's if the story is true.

It could be a plant. The FBI/CIA historically have planted stories in the US press. They were a year or two ago castigated for doing so in Iraq - purely fabricated stories making out things are improving, etc (which is a bit different, it's Iraq rather than the USA, but it's still flat out no-nonsense *lies* to the population, which we're supposed not to do) - so it's not like they can't.

Seems a bit odd, I think, that Wikileaks should have such a policy. Would be entirely against everything they stand for. Makes me think - hmm, I wonder... who'd like to make Wikileaks look real bad and who do I know who has the capability to plant stories in the press?

Basically, keep that little voice in your head going - the one which questions everything. Not paranoia, just making sure you're not falling prey to your own assumptions. Including the ones which say it's always the Gov, because the story *could* be true.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Skype Says All Fraud Due To Customer Error

Toby The Economist Toby The Economist writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toby The Economist (811138) writes "Skype asserts that all fraud is due to customer error and as such Skype has no responsibility for the funds customers have in their accounts; no refunds are given after fraud. If you have a Skype account, keep your pre-paid balance low and unless you want to fit a tap to your bank account, keep auto-recharge very definitely off."
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